Can i get in! Have perfect ACT and going for SAT scores.

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Discus: What Are My Chances?: April 2004 Archive: Can i get in! Have perfect ACT and going for SAT scores.
By Holleyc (Holleyc) on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 04:02 pm: Edit

I am currently a junior at a college prep high school. I am a male minority(Black) student from the projects(chicago) and have faced SEVERE disadvantages(poverty) and life challenges(Very messed up family, not going to really get into that just think the worst(not that bad though) in my life and have a very low GPA. around a 2.0 amd rank currently among the bottom of a class of 250. i have taken nothing but honors classes. and have passed 2 aps on my own and am planning on taking several more. i just was never able to do my homework. Had a very messed up freshmen year. and have been working about a 50+ hour work week since i turned 16. I was wondering if with my minority status and life challeges as well as my perfect score if i had any chance at the following schools. NYU, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UM ann harbor, Stanford, or any of the ivy's.

By Filmmom (Filmmom) on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 04:31 pm: Edit

First of all there is always a chance but I don't think you have a great chance right now. But a few things are not adding up. How are you working 50+ hours a week and going to school? What are your ACT and SAT I scores? What are your SAT II scores and which subjects have you taken them in? What AP tests did you take and what were your scores?

Why is your GPA so low? Why are you not able to do your homework? Even being a rarity (minority with high scores) adcoms will still question the low GPA. It looks like (on the surface) that you are not working up to your potential.

By Holleyc (Holleyc) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 09:37 am: Edit

To clarify i work 46 hours a week. 6 hours during the week and 12 hours on the weekends. the other hours i count since i have to take care of my siblings which is like work. i have taken AP chem and bio independent study. i got a a 4 on both of them. i have yet to take the SAT but have a 36 on the ACT. I am going to take the SAT 1 and SAT subject tests in the fall of next year. My gpa for just this year is about a 3.4, but my most recent gpa is just my fresh and soph years. But my rank is still low.

By Candi1657 (Candi1657) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 10:11 am: Edit

Congrats to you! I am also a URM (black) from a poor background, but you are truly exceptional. Regardless of whether you make it into the college of your dreams, I am sure that you will be a success. Good luck!:)

By Filmmom (Filmmom) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 10:55 am: Edit


Your ACT score and AP scores will help you a great deal. If you continue to show an upward trend with your gpa that will really help you also. You will need to keep those grades trending up. You do have a chance at those schools.

Now what do you plan on studying? Are finances going to be a problem? I do know that UM is really expensive for out of state, NYU is too and their financial aid isn't always the best. The UC are being impacted by their budget problems. You also need to research to see if you meet their requirements. Ivys do have great need based aid.

Some other things to consider; how well do you know your GC? Is he/she willing to really help you out with recommendations and searching? Do you have at least 2 teachers that know you well and are willing to write recommendations for you? You will also need some match and safety schools.

Hope this helps some.

By Midwesterner (Midwesterner) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 11:24 am: Edit

HolleyC, that 36 on the ACT will definitely get you attention from colleges! Keep working on improving your profile. The University of Chicago has some good summer programs that might interest you. Take a look at
Some programs are residential, some are for commuters. There is some scholarship money available, and the earlier you get in an application, the better chance you have. Good luck!

By Holleyc (Holleyc) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 11:28 am: Edit

I would have no problem getting my recomendations. i want to be a lawyer; but more importantly i want to go somewhere FAR out of state. Preferably cali. At the top of my list is UC berkely followed by UCLA. If i could choose any ivy it would be princeton. I was wondering if i had any chance at the already mentioned schools if a also get a 1550+ SAT and similar results on later AP's and SAT II.

By Holleyc (Holleyc) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 11:31 am: Edit

Really! I actually live very near the UofC. I see it every day and walk the campus. It is really a very nice place.

By Holleyc (Holleyc) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 11:36 am: Edit

Money wont be an issue for me. i have earned enough to get me through my first year(s?)

By Filmmom (Filmmom) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 12:07 pm: Edit


You do have a good shot at those schools. You still need to go to the UC websites to make sure you meet their requirements. They calculate gpa a specific way. I do think that your test scores will probably qualify you.

OK, back to the money. I bring this up because I want to be sure you are aware of how much money we are talking. You say you have earned enough money to get you through your first year(s). You do realize that costs can be $40,000 per year or more? For instance, one of my son's financial aid packages gives him $16,000 in grants,$4625 in loans and work study for personal expenses. Our EFC is about $3300, now with him working about 20 hours a week he could pay that(as he had told me he intends to). I am being offered a loan of nearly $12,000. While you may get great aid because of your need/merit; do you if necessary have $10,000-15,000 per year? Will your family be able to help you out in any way?

By Holleyc (Holleyc) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 12:49 pm: Edit

Where did your son go? i believe i will be able to meet about 10 grand upfront. no efc. all in all i think i will be able to meet the UC requirments. the elligibility by test scores. all i have to do is take some subject tests and the SAT and get above a 1450. i also plan on working during the school year.

By Filmmom (Filmmom) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 12:50 pm: Edit

I have another question for you (I am in deep mommy mode right now, sorry). Just FYI, I am a black single mom with 1 son who will be off to college this fall. We live in MI and it looks like he will end up in Chicago or NYC. He also didn't want to stay instate.

Have you been to CA? If there is anyway possible for you to visit, I would recommend it.With your ACT scores and if your SAT scores are about the same, some schools may be willing to fly you in for a visit. If this happens you will get a chance to see the campus.

By Seed (Seed) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 02:11 pm: Edit

Question: I'm black but I'm not poor or anything but how do you have $10,000 saved up. If your surroundings is as bad as you make it sound shouldn't you be spending that money on paying bills or helping your mom out. Usually when people are really poor like that they just don't have $10,000 in the bank.


If I were you I would apply to UVA they have full scholarships for people with very disavantaged backgrounds who are doign well in school they actively seek them out.

Try to bring your GPA up no matter what and apply.

By Holleyc (Holleyc) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 06:27 pm: Edit

I invested my money in a futures account. i was short on cattle future when the mad cow disease was discovered. when the cattle prices fell dramatically i profited. if not for that event i would be broke! Really the difference between rich and poor is that that the rich put thier money to work for them. my only regret is that i got out to early and thus lost out on a greater profit. Really. go to to learn more about futures trading. Thank you economics! At that time most of my money went to helping my family and still does. i just used the little that i had saved and took a gamble. but i had really reserched it and everything. if not for that i would only have about 2 grand. i am still working now but am thinking about taking a reduction in hours.

By Holleyc (Holleyc) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 06:56 pm: Edit

Typo currently a 2.4 right now for just this year. if i didnt bring my gpa up and got an extremly stong score on sat's and on my Aps could i still get in? i thought that showed i was a misunderstood genius or something.

By Filmmom (Filmmom) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 07:23 pm: Edit

You are still going to have to get that gpa up. Like I said earlier most likely adcoms will not see misunderstood genius but more not working up to potential. With scores that high your gpa simply should not be that low.

Even being a URM, your gpa even with the test scores are going to hurt you. Most highly selective schools (and that's what you are looking at with an acceptance rate of less than 25%)expect a much higher gpa. What are you doing to improve your gpa?

By Glowingamy (Glowingamy) on Thursday, April 01, 2004 - 11:21 pm: Edit

I think you have a better chance than everyone else thinks. People like you are why affirmative action was formed, to give really exceptional people who are being held back by external circumstances a chance to rise to their full potential. If the low GPA is mainly due to homework and being unable to study for tests/work/taking care of family, definitely note that on the application.

By Becks777 (Becks777) on Thursday, April 01, 2004 - 11:39 pm: Edit

Apparently i think your essays will matter the most and they seem to be your only hope. Start working on them and be sure to include all hardships in a manner in which you dont seem to be whining and crying about it but instead telling them how you have come out on top despite all the hardships you had to suffer. You have the time in your hands, so produce some fantastic essays and you MAY have a shot at some of the schools mentioned. Good luck!

P.S- i think the UCs require a minimum gpa of 3.4 for out of staters so they are probably off your list

By Holleyc (Holleyc) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 01:37 pm: Edit

Thanks for you advice. But i can qualify by examination alone if i get similar results on my SAT and SAT II subject tests that they require me to take. I am worried about my essay though. i dont want to sound whinny and as though i was going out of my way to impress the admissions board. I have heard stories of people like me who have done that and admissions caught on. i guess they exagerated our something. excuse my spelling.

By Becks777 (Becks777) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 02:55 pm: Edit

Thats my point. start now so you have time to improve. people over here will be glad to help you with it. Also dont forget to submit it to your english teacher too

By Robert456 (Robert456) on Saturday, April 03, 2004 - 01:03 pm: Edit

I think that you could get lucky, but I don't think that the majority of the schools you are interested in are going to give you the time of day b/c of your GPA. In my opinion, if you are having a hard time supporting your family, then does that mean that you will just take off and leave to go to an ivy? Also, you must convey the fact that once you are at that school, you will work really hard to do well, and try to prove them wrong. In my opinion, I think that that low of a GPA from an inner city school is very weak... you could not even try and at least get b's with your intellect. I somehow don't believe that someone with a 36 ACT would have a 2.4 GPA.I think that your minority status will help, but that can only pull you so far. A.A was particularily established because minorities were having trouble with the SAT's b/c they had less opportunities. You are the exact opposite. They probably would rather have a hard worker/bad test taker than someone who doesn't live up to his potential.

By Holleyc (Holleyc) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 01:15 pm: Edit

Man, thats deep.

By Holleyc (Holleyc) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 04:00 pm: Edit

Do at least have a chance at Berkeley or NYU? In not saying full scholarship or anything but at least getting admitted? Also as lazy as this sounds my personal motto is grades or a measure of performance, not intelligence. A test you take whell tell you more about the intellegence of a person then any amount of homework/classwork that isnt done. I have never recieved below a C for any work i did or test i have taken. the truth of the matter is the only tests i studied for where my APs and ACT. i have always been genuinly knowledgeable on many subjects(especially science) except spelling. I just dont like people doubting on my abilities.

By Robert456 (Robert456) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 10:33 pm: Edit

I personally think that that is sad. You will never be successful with that attitude. You seem arrogant and self-righteout-like you are too good to do homework. This is just my opinion, but you probably shouldn't go to college if you aren't willing to work, because otherwise you are going to flunk out. You have so much is kind of sad. I know plenty of extremely successful people that made it out of a bad home life w/ 980 SAT. They were a black female who attended NYU. She had a good GPA, and graduated with honors. The fact of the matter is, an 36 is great, but in the long run, you are going to have to get over yourself and study. There are plenty of people that have good test are one of many. I wish the best for you, I just hope that you get past your insecurities about other people doubting your abilities, and be someone...otherwise you can be the smartest person working at burger king.!I should be a lawyer!Damn I'm good.

By Tallyrand (Tallyrand) on Monday, April 05, 2004 - 11:07 pm: Edit

Pull up your GPA, first of all. You've done a lot of stuff, what with saving money and helping out with your family and such(Write a good essay about it!). Once you go to college, you'll have to get by from day to day doing homework and such. Making the time to do homework now could make all the difference in getting you the lifeskills to do well in college. I suggest you take a look at Norte Dame, which is actively trying to recruit talented URMs, and the University of Michigan--Ann Arbor, which is reasonably priced, prestigious, and would probably give you aid. There's always community college, too. If you make straight A's at a local community college, then apply for transfer to Berkeley, Stanford, or wherever you want to go, and you'll probably be able to get in. The UC's are notoriously community college friendly.

By Filmmom (Filmmom) on Tuesday, April 06, 2004 - 11:43 am: Edit

You have to step back and look at this from the adcom's perspective. They have a finite time to go thru thousands of applications. Your low gpa is going to stick out and your test scores may not compensate. In highly selective schools this will hurt you. Despite your personal motto, it all counts when it comes to college admissions.

Here is something else to think about. What kind of recommendations will you get from teachers? Keep in mind that in most cases you will waive the right to read them. If they say something to the effect that you are a very good student but not working to your potential; that is going to hurt you.

You have to decide if you really want to go to a highly selective college. If you do you must pull that gpa up to have a decent chance. AA,poverty and possibly first generation (don't know if that is your case) will not be enough to overcome that low of a gpa for the schools on your lists.

By Kinkbicycles04 (Kinkbicycles04) on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 04:50 am: Edit

The UC's ban AA in admissions anyway so it would not help you a bit being African American.

By Holleyc (Holleyc) on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 01:00 pm: Edit

If i were to say bring it up to a 3.0? maybe even a 3.5?(By making a stronger effort to do homework. Be a lawyer? thats what i want to be.

By Robert456 (Robert456) on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 01:36 pm: Edit

Yeah, you would have triple the chances of getting in somewhere with a 3.0. That would be a pretty big jump, though. You are definately capable, though. Also, what kind of kids are at your HS? Your rank would be pretty important for competitive schools, and it would be nice if you could at least make it to the top 20%. I think that if you take a bunch of honors classes, then you could bring that GPA up and rank. For competitive schools, your goal should be in the top 10%.

I think that you are going to get in to at least one school, because you can help their average SAT/ACT. Do your homework. I think that schools that use AA will help you out. Michigan is known for this, and so are other comp. private schools. I would recommend not applying to UC's, because AA will not help you, and they are VERY competitive. Your goal should be to stand out as much as possible and you MUST write good essays/ recs explaining your situation. I think that if at all possible, raise your GPA up to a 3.0 by second semester senior year and try to apply RD for a lot of schools to pull it up with as much time as possible. Remember, though, you need a 4.0+ if you want to pull that up to a 3.0. If you could kick the SATs ass, then that is icing on the cake. Then, your EC's are probably not going to impress them...where do you work? I think that if you worked somewhere that has to do with your prospecive major then you could do that. Maybe a job over the summer as an intern would beef it up, or maybe some volunteer hours. Don't run around joining clubs, it is too late.

I would advise you to apply to as many schools as possible, including the community college as a safety net. You really are just rolling a dice praying that you get lucky, but your plans could fall apart. I think that you could get in UMich or a lot of good state schools like University of Illinois, but U of Chicago is a long shot. Don't be suprised if you get a ton of rejections, but maybe you can pull out some good news at a few, and I think you will.

Work really hard for those grades... this is the most important time possible in your HS career. Make up for your slack.

By Tri_N (Tri_N) on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 11:05 pm: Edit

No offense, but you're not that smart.

I think you just train yourself to be a good test taker since you mention that you only study for the ACT, SAT, and APs.

Finally, that attitude of yours is going to get yourself nowhere. No pain, no gain. If you want to be a lawyer, you better start busting your butt at this moment. In college, there will be regular exams with 100+ pages of materials to cover. Here's the good thing about college. Professors don't give you busy works like HS teachers do. You have plenty of readings to do and that's good because you actually learn.

Last but not least, SAT IIs worth much more than SAT I. If you can score 750+ above on three SATs, you're in pretty good shape statistically.

By Tri_N (Tri_N) on Wednesday, April 07, 2004 - 11:13 pm: Edit

On a sidenote, you have a good chance at NYU

I know a white kid who's a total slacker at my school that gets into NYU with a 30 on his ACT. If you can pull your GPA up, you have an extremly good chance at NYU.

By Robert456 (Robert456) on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 09:57 am: Edit

Also, I would think that you should be aware of the costs of these schools and beging looking for finacial aid now. If you go out of state or to a private school, you are talking 25k+(and that would be cheap). The way you describe your situation, you will need to have scholarships, or work during college, or try to earn a scholarship any way you know how. I know that you say that you have saved a bunch up, but seriously, I doubt that over 4 years you have saved up 100k. Also, on Tri N's point, you are not going to make it in college, no matter how smart you are, if you don't do the work. I don't think that you understand that at most competitive universities that there are many 36's. You are not that special, but you still did a good job. The more you play off of this,"I am so smart and am just not challenged" deal, then you are going to get no where.

By Justice (Justice) on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 11:43 am: Edit

If you manage a huge upward trend in GPA, colleges won't care about your lower grades in the past AT ALL. In fact the fact that you matured will underscore your potential. It is not hard to get a high GPA if you have the brains--just do it.
And I honestly think you will be fine for a school like NYU. Robert456, there aren't that many 36s at NYU (I actually doubt there are more than 2 or 3). A 36 puts you over 4 z-scores away from the mean.
If I were you I would stop posting on this board and start doing homework. It's pathetic if your inability to discipline yourself to do homework is a roadblock for success. You claim to have no time, but if you have time to self-study 2 APs, then you have no excuse.

By Julibean008 (Julibean008) on Thursday, April 08, 2004 - 09:15 pm: Edit

Some people are being kind of harsh. Let me first say I have no idea at all where you are coming from. I'm a white suburban upper middle class kid. I actually really admire what you've done, but I agree with other people on a lot of the issues. Colleges think like this: "OOoo, she never did well in school or did homework. What makes us think she'll change when she's with us? That might make us look bad... reduce our % of kids who get into law school. Plus, why should we take admission away from a kid who we know would prosper and get good grades here? Yeah, we feel for her, but we just aren't comfortable accepting her. Tough break."

Bring that GPA up. If you have 10000 in the bank, maybe you should lay off work for awhile and study. It could turn out to make more sense financially because you can get finaid and scholarships that way.

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